Asperger's syndrome is a condition that affects approximately 0.5 percent of the world's population, which amounts to 40 million patients, although the precise number requires further study, according to Fructuoso Ayala Guerrero, an academic at UNAM's Faculty of Psychology (FP). In Mexico, about 120,000 individuals live with this condition, and approximately half of them reach adulthood without a diagnosis.
The disorder is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by social and communication problems, language difficulties, and behavioral issues. Patients tend to isolate themselves, have a rigid mindset, and struggle to understand figurative language. They interpret language literally, so a phrase like "raining cats and dogs" would be taken at face value.
Early diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. To this end, the Neurosciences Laboratory of the FP implements a brain stimulation method after conducting neuropsychological, attention, learning, and memory assessments. Participants receive transcranial magnetic stimulation as part of their treatment plan.
The university professor also notes that Asperger's tends to be classified as level 1 of the autism spectrum disorder. The term "autism" comes from the Greek "autôs," meaning "self" or "oneself," as patients tend to isolate themselves and engage in repetitive behaviors, becoming fixated on tasks that interest them. They struggle to understand the feelings and intentions of others, including nonverbal communication such as facial expressions and body language.
The origins of the syndrome could be hereditary, or it could develop during the gestation process due to environmental factors that alter neurodevelopment. Pregnant women who take antiepileptic drugs during gestation or have epilepsy can affect their baby's brain development. Valproic acid, for example, has been linked to children with an autism spectrum disorder.
In the Laboratory of Neurosciences of the FP, an animal model has been developed that consists of administering this drug to rats during the first days of gestation. This intervention results in offspring with communication difficulties and malformations, similar to human patients. However, when the rats grow up in an enriched environment with other rats and activities, their symptoms are significantly less severe.
Therefore, it is recommended that individuals with Asperger's receive constant stimulation to help them improve their symptoms. Those interested in participating in the project can contact the Neurosciences Laboratory and email for more information.
The Role of MU Waves in Understanding Social Cues for Asperger's Syndrome
According to a researcher, the brain generates electrical energy in the form of waves of varying frequency and amplitude. In a healthy person, MU waves are present in the sensory-motor region of the brain when they are relaxed and disappear when they observe others moving, indicating the ability to understand the intentions of others. However, those with Asperger's only exhibit these waves when they act themselves, indicating difficulty in understanding others' intentions.
Early detection is crucial for effective treatment, and symptoms can be noticed as early as infancy. Individualized therapy or stimulation can help, along with cognitive behavioral treatment for mood problems. Quality sleep is also crucial to controlling symptoms and boosting the immune system.
Asperger's Syndrome affects the patient and their entire family, and International Asperger's Syndrome Day is celebrated annually on the birth anniversary of the psychiatrist who first described the disorder in 1943.